Germany's one-time Führer and arguably the most ruthless dictator the world has ever seen, Adolf Hitler, was born on this day, April 20, in the year 1889. Even 130 years after his birth, the man who ordered the execution of around 5.5 million European Jews, continues to remain a symbol of horror. He was the force which drove the world into the Second World War, that claimed the lives of nearly 60 million civilians and soldiers. Quotes of the German Dictator Prove That he was a Great Orator.
Facts to Know About The Disgraced Anti-Semite Former German Supreme Leader:
- Hitler was born to Sir Alois Hitler in the year 1889. Since his early childhood, Hitler developed deep affection for his mother, and an equivalent hatred for his father.
- The animosity deepened when Alois forced his son to join a technical school in Linz.
- After Alois' shock death in 1904, Hitler moved out of Linz and sought his mother's permission to study fine arts in Vienna. In 1907, Hitler's mother died of breast cancer compelling him to leave studies altogether.
- For the next five years, Hitler led a struggling life in Vienna. He sold art paintings by the day to make a living, while sleeping in dormitories at night.
- In 1913, when the First World War broke out, Hitler registered with the Austria-Hungary forces to serve in the armed forces. His application was rejected on medical grounds.
- This did not prevent Hitler from joining the war, as he signed up for the voluntary services being sought by the Bavarian Army.
- In the five-year period in the battlefield, Hitler was part of the 16th reserve regiment. He drew widespread praise for his heroism and courage on the battlefield.
- In Mein Kampf (autobiography of Hitler), he expressed deep disappointment over the then German leadership's decision to withdraw from the war. He echoed the popular conspiracy theory which blamed the section of Jews and Marxists in the then civilian establishment who "forced" the signing of Treaty of Versailles "despite Germany leading on the warfront".
- In 1919, hardliners within the Bavarian Army tasked Hitler to infiltrate the German Workers' Party (DAP) and promote the idea of racially-motivated nationalism.
- Hitler succeeded in turning the DAP into the Nazi Party by 1921, and emerged as its new leader.
- In the two subsequent polls, the Nazis emerged as a force to reckon with, but failed to win a full majority. In 1923, Hitler also led a failed coup. He was imprisoned -- during the period, he wrote Mein Kampf, articulating his ideology of National Socialism.
- After being released from jail, Hitler's popularity grew manifold, with the Nazis wresting power in 1933. A year later, Hitler turned German political system autocratic, and appointed himself as the Fuhrer or supreme leader.
- In 1939, Germany launched a military campaign against Poland, in a bid the invade the nation. The invasion attempt kick-started the Second World War, with the UK and France announcing a war against Germany.
- Hitler, after the successful invasion of Poland, launched a military offensive on Russia. The attack on Soviets (in 1942) was followed by America's entry into the war -- turning the tides in favour of the Allied Powers.
- By 1945, Germany had sensed its complete defeat in the war. With the Soviet Red Army marching close to Berlin, Hitler realised his days were numbered. On 28 April that year, he married his longtime lover Eva Braun. The couple committed suicide two days later. The corpse were burnt by the liberated Germans.
Hitler leaves behind no legacy but a lesson of introspection for modern democracies, where the trend is gradually emerging to submit the social and political liberties at the "feet of a great man". The safety valves of democracy, particularly the media and the judiciary, needs to play the primary Opposition role when that "great man" begins vilifying minorities. Hitler's anti-Semite agenda being unchallenged at its budding level led to the brutal massacre of 5.5 million Jews in Germany. The Holocaust should never cease to exist in the memory of mankind.